J.J. Cale To Tulsa And Back

As the guy who first made it cool to be old, it’s not surprising that on this first new studio collection in eight years, Cale sounds virtually the same as he did on his 1971 debut. At that time, he was already a legend; his deceptively simple, laid-back style having greatly influenced Eric Clapton’s early solo work and subsequently Mark Knopfler’s entire career. And of course, once you’ve hit upon such a magical formula, why bother changing it? To Tulsa And Back may be a slick, modern production, but at its core are still Cale’s restrained, soulful vocals, and swampy guitar playing. His songwriting also remains effortlessly brilliant; each track appears to hang together by a thread, but Cale and his supporting cast maintain a chugging groove throughout, one that fits nicely with typically straightforward lyrics on songs like "New Lover” and "The Problem.” What ultimately makes Cale unique is that it is impossible to tag him as either a blues artist or country artist. He truly has developed and perfected his own sound, and for anyone interested in hearing it for the first time, To Tulsa And Back is as good a place as any to start. (Sanctuary)